Thai Saemapetch sizes up Carrillo ahead of big fight
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Thai Saemapetch sizes up Carrillo ahead of big fight

Saemapetch Fairtex, left, will face Nico Carrillo this Saturday.
Saemapetch Fairtex, left, will face Nico Carrillo this Saturday.

Perennial bantamweight Muay Thai contender Saemapetch Fairtex can push his way to the front of the queue with another big win this weekend.

The No.4 ranked bantamweight Muay Thai star faces No.1 contender Nico Carrillo at ONE Fight Night 23: Ok v Rasulov on Saturday at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in a pivotal contest for the division.

Saemapetch has been chasing the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai world title currently held by Jonathan “The General” Haggerty since making his promotional bow in 2018.

Carrillo, on the other hand, has surged to the top of the divisional rankings with a destructive four-fight win streak since making his debut last year.

But Saemapetch believes that his 14-fights worth of experience under the bright lights of ONE will hold him in good stead when the pair lock horns at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

“Nico has almost everything. He is a foreign fighter with good Muay Thai skills. I still can’t find his weakness, but maybe he’ll reveal it in the ring. When I see his style up close, I will find the best way to approach him,” he said.

“My experience as a veteran Thai boxer will help a lot in this fight, like how to defend or counter. But even though he doesn’t have as many fights as me, in the ring, with 4-ounce small gloves, the first who makes a mistake can be knocked down. It’s up to me to neutralise his game.”

Saemapetch has long featured among the top bantamweight strikers in the world. The 29-year-old challenged then-bantamweight Muay Thai king Nong-O Hama for the gold back in 2019, when he succumbed to his fellow countryman by fourth-round TKO.

Still ranked fourth in the talent-laden division, the Fairtex Training Center representative has never given up on his dream of winning the 26-pound gold belt.

His determination was on full display in his most recent outing in February, a crushing first-round TKO over Mohamed Younes Rabah that reversed the result of the first fight between the pair.

As such, he doesn’t care who he must go through to get there.

“I never thought about which opponent ONE would offer to me in my next fight. Looking at the rankings, we had to meet each other anyway. I’m not worried about fighting anyone. I can fight anyone in our division — all of them,” he said.

“If I can beat Nico, it’s up to ONE to give me a World Title or not. At least I’ll be ranked No.1 as I was before.”

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